F1: Azerbaijan and Spain
Three poles on the trot for Vettel, but this was Baku. No one saw what was coming...
As the lights went out, Sebastian Vettel stormed ahead from his third consecutive pole position, achieved only by being a few tenths clear of reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton. Behind him, the first few tight corners saw multiple contacts with Kimi Raikkonen running into Esteban Ocon, before carrying on, while Sergey Sirotkin, Kevin Magnussen and Fernando Alonso all suffered bits of bodywork losses. Pit-stops beckoned for many. It was Ocon out; his career-second DNF. Safety Car. Advantage Valtteri Bottas who had pitted just as the flags came out.
Safety Car period done with, it was four Renaultengined cars — two of them Red Bulls — battling for position and a potential podium. It wasn’t long before Nico Hulkenberg found the wall; again. Out came the Safety Car. Romain Grosjean managed to lose his Haas trying to keep his tyres warm while behind the Safety Car. This brought out both the crane and the
flat-bed, as the Safety Car crawled through the side of the wreckage, the two Mercedes-AMGs and Ferraris in tow.
The restart saw a frustrated Vettel try and recover the lead from Bottas. The four-time champion went in hot but ran wide, allowing both Bottas, Raikkonen through and eventually losing out to Hamilton, too. Behind them, the two Red Bulls were now within millimetres of each other overtaking into corners, slipstreaming and DRS galore. However, it was close one too many times, and, as the duo approached the left-hander after the straight, Max braked early, and Ricciardo, with nowhere to go, shunted right into his team-mate. Both Red Bulls out.
With three laps to go, race leader Bottas ran over some debris on track and suffered a puncture. As he pulled off, it was Hamilton who scored his best result in Baku, with Raikkonen second and Sergio Perez, who managed to get ahead of Vettel and stay there, third for Force India..
Hamilton gets his first win in Baku, as does Sergio Perez